Monday, 31 October 2016

Another Flashback from '98

Last week I wrote about meeting and interviewing 'Mr Magazine' in London.

At the same event I had a chance to hold a digital camera for the first time. I know it was a Fuji because the lovely person doing the demo had it written across her sash.

Funny how some memories linger like this.

Chances are that it was this model which had been launched a month earlier.

With no zoom, no flash, no optical viewfinder, two apertures, four AA batteries and a massive storage unit called something like Digital Storage System Floppy Disc ... or DSSFD ... it was clunky and seemed to take at least five seconds from the time the shutter was pressed to anything actually happening.

I also picked up the first ever copy of this magazine and, frankly, didn't understand what the hell they were on about.

But then, nobody  else had much idea either and we were arrogant enough to think that the quality of this new digital upstart would never match our holdall full of camera bodies, lenses, flash guns and assorted paraphernalia.

How wrong we were!

Friday, 28 October 2016


The ONLY magazine that I buy these days is Hungry Eye ...a quarterly B5 British publication 'The Film Making and Photography Journal' published and printed in Sussex.

At there is wealth of stuff to read. That is where I discovered the following elderly posting from their contributor Chris Floyd. He has more like this to explore at

Seems he too was in flashback mode when he wrote this. Wish I had even a small fraction of his photographic and writing ability. I sure can identify with all that he says, and not only because I was in NY at the same time.

Photo and text copyright of Chris Floyd from his booklet
Things May Change This Will Stay The Same

"November 2011. A bleak time living in New York. Fumes, dust, death hanging around. It is in the air and the bones of the citizens of the city that never sleeps, hiding in, hiding out. Looking at these photographs, it is obvious that they are shot with a melancholic and listless drift that at the time was not apparent. A sense that the girl in them has entered a state of inertia, numbed dumbness caused by that cornflower skied morning in the concrete jungle where dreams are made.Is she waiting for the remnants of those events to catch up and finish her off? Or is she passively hanging on for something new to carry her out of it?

Only one way to address it. Get out and get on. Do the thing that made America what it is. Take to the road and find something new. A better picture somewhere else. Now I am seeing this again for the first tim in a long time and although some things may change, this will stay the same."

Wednesday, 26 October 2016



I had just become editor of a nationally distributed magazine, after learning my way via part-time editorial assignments for local business publications and trade papers,

The invitation to a magazine publishers' conference and exhibition at London's Tower Thistle hotel was too good to miss. That, along with generous goody-bags and free buffets was one of the perks of the job. I guess these freebies have been curtailed in our present 'doom-gloom and austerity' age.

That event was the first time that I met Samir Husni Ph.D. This enthusiastic and energetic character, a fast talking Lebanese American, was generous with his time and sharing his knowledge and even gave me a copy of his newly published book Launch Your Own Magazine. 

It is one of the best business related books I have read and it is made vibrant through interviews describing the launch of various start-up publishing ventures.

The advent and rapid development of digital technology has overtaken much of what Professor Husani wrote 18 years ago but I still firmly share and believe his often stated opinion that, 'if it isn't print on paper it isn't a magazine'!  And these developments in no way undermine his knowledge, wisdom and sheer business acumen.

Over the last year I have read at least 100 books and have kept only six [99% were acquired secondhand and then donated to charity shops] This book is one of those six.

You can still buy it on line at Amazon and you can read more with almost daily postings at

I enjoyed my time in and around the magazine and publishing industries. I also enjoyed my time as a professional photographer and next time I'll share how that same event in '98 was another personal first!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Blue Sky Gone Grey

And so our staycation summer drifts into Autumn.

Even if we had gone away our trip would be just a happy memory by now.

Although my memories of Italy's Amalfi Coast always feature brilliant blue sea and sky, with warm onshore breezes, I received this reminder that Positano too has its seasons,

Thanks to for this picture in their October email.

My only tinge of sadness is that it looks as if our overseas and distant home travels are over forever ...but then we have been luckier than many in these respects.

Today there was a beautiful pink dawn over  Margate and we have been enjoying spectacular sunsets recently. And yes, we give thanks for a beach almost on the doorstep [well, 150 metres away!]

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Novel Photo

I do not read many novels, especially those that are heavily hyped in the press or bookshops.

I will admit that it was a shallow spur of the moment when I spotted this one in a charity bookshop for £1. It had been published earlier this year in paperback at £7.99 and yes, it was the cover picture and blurb that attracted me.

You can find reviews on line.

The leading character believes that 'there are only 14 types of photograph':


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Unforgiven by Gillian Hyland

Yesterday I invited you to check out Gillian's website.

Here is an example of her work with distinct flavours of Edward Hopper. It is a screen shot from my laptop. The originals are in far better definition.

Go take a look!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Here's one I made earlier

It is almost two years to the day since I published Colines 2015 annual book of words and pictures for family and friends.

This edition was a retrospective of poems that I had written earlier and then taken photographs to illustrate some of them. That's where these scans are from.

Because I have this bad habit of deleting pictures once they've been used it was the only way to reproduce them here.

Yesterday I discovered the work of Irish photographer Gillian Hyland. Go to her site and scroll to Words in Sight chapters and poems. 

You'll find her at

Now go write your own verses and do whatever your creativity inspires.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Monday Magazine Choice - Slightly Foxed

                                                                                    Grab a coffee and a magazine and just r-e-l-a-x.

The weeks' choice is Slightly Foxed ....

The publishing founders give it the sub-title of 'The Real Reader's Quarterly' and I wonder why I have missed it until now, especially as the current issue [Autumn 2016] is Nr.51.  But then I don't recall ever having seen it in a run of the mill magazine shop or newsagent.

I found my first copy in a second hand bookshop and sent off for the latest one. Initially it seems costly at £11 a time for a slender A5 magazine but, as with most quarterly titles, when you do the math it is on a par with the price of a lesser monthly or weekly publication.

For this you get around 100 pages of nicely textured cream paper about 120 gsm, accurately typeset and with occasional quirky illustrations. I especially like the fact that prices of the magazine and associated merchandise include post and packing and that my trial issue came with this  personalised postcard along with a bookmark and an invitation to subscribe.

The content, as described on the back cover is: The independent-minded quarterly that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. Slightly Foxed introduces readers to  books that are no linger new and fashionable  but have lasting appeal, Good humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it's more like a well read friend than a literary magazine'.

I would describe it as a dozen or so reviews of books or authors that each contributor has enjoyed and then written about in a very personalized essay. Great 'dip-into-whenever' reading for a journey or pastime in a waiting room. Then keep each issue to return to when your own tastes may have matured or moved on.

The title has nothing to do with red haired canines and everything to do with the description of old books where the age discolours the edges of the pages so that dealers describe them as slightly foxed.

Used back numbers are readily available on eBay at £3 or less so this could be a way to test the water and see if it is your kind of thing.

The cover designs are great too! More at

Happy reading - thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 15 October 2016


Some notebook brands get it right and create a loyal following of collectors and subscribers. Field Notes, Moleskine and Travelers Notebook all come to mind as role models.

Others try, often with a good idea and then completely balls it up.

Transport and travel have always been a popular theme with Travelers Notebook having sell-out special editions devoted to Hong Kong's iconic trams and the Star Ferry Company.

This other outfit from Maryland seemed on the right track with their notebooks in the popular A6 size, sold in packs of three and cutely packaged. They added matching pencils and even an embroidered logo for the featured US Royal Blue train.

I found some historical notes buried somewhere on their confused and confusing website. The company is named 'Write Notepads & Co' so you can doubtless imagine the fun that Google has if you get any one of the words or spacing wrong.

Beware. The $9.99 price for a three pack attracts a gargantuan $20 international shipping charge!




Friday, 14 October 2016

Slightly Foxed + Edward Hopper Revisited

Coming a couple of days if all goes to plan, a note about my discovery of a strange magazine or journal named Slightly Foxed, which is where I found mention of Edward Hopper [See last week's post dated October 7]

I subsequently spent a happy few spells on the keyboard checking out the myriad sites and Youtube postings about the man himself and the painters, photographers and movie makers that he inspired.

There is no way that I am going to link them all here. Instead I will choose just one artist and fine art photographer named Richard Tuschman. He has a fascinating one hour documentary lecture on how he creates his Hopper inspired pictures.

These begin with a storyboard of the concept followed by sourcing and researching the ingredients of architecture, fashion, lighting and all the other components of the picture. These boards of photo prompts gleaned mainly from the internet and family photo albums help to keep him on track.

Then comes the detailed planning to scale of the diorama or model of the interiors. Think of miniature stage sets, or dolls houses, or model railway layouts, or small scale museum exhibits. Richard constructs these from whatever he can lay his hands on and always with the end game in mind. This takes many hours of patient work and includes using a small wooden pose-able artists' mannequin to position where the people will be. These two photographs are from the story using the same diorama throughout.

The foundation photos are made. Real life models are hired along with costumes, hair and make-up stylists and studio space. The models are posed according to Richard's pictures of his mannequin on location. The wooden man is then replaced with the real life models thanks to the magic of Photoshop and Richard's skills, vision and creativity to create the final picture.

These pictures are screen shots from the documentary, you can see it on Youtube.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

MIdweek Magazine - Food for your Hungry Eyes

I thought I knew every method of holding a camera but had never ever considered this.

This picture is almost asking for a caption but I can only think of answers laden with schoolboy smut about self-timers, exposures, and flashing. [All in a camera context of course]

Hungry Eye is an unusual quarterly magazine that tags itself as 'the film and photography journal' and has been around for about three years.

I can't be more precise because, annoyingly, the publishers don't feature any dates anywhere! Then, to confuse matters further they have a strange way of numbering each edition. For example; Issue 3,Vol 1 or, Issue 4 Vol 2 .... when most logical souls would catalogue the volume Number first and the issue number second. Or even spring, summer, autumn and winter instead?

Even so it is a great magazine in B5 size and beautifully printed with a refreshing minimum of advertising and masses of photos although I guess that some articles that are obviously 'advertorials' are not listed as such! It is £8.99 an issue of about 120 pages or on subscription at £27.96 per year.  Check out  to subscribe and remember it is cheaper than a famous weekly photo magazine and most monthlies, It is informative, entertaining and light on scientific and technical stuff ,,, it is my kinda magazine!

Found this shot on line and can't remember where. Is that a real landscape outside or a studio dummy window? ?

And what about the 'filing' on the floor? Signs of a creative mind or  a cluttered one?

Guess it's a man cave as a lady lair would surely have curtains?
This one is from Robert Herman's book of i-phone photography The Phone Book.

It reminds me of a genre of oil paintings that were popular a few years ago.

Are they on their way out for the evening or going home at the end of a work day?

Are they married but maybe not to each other?

Some say a good photo needs no caption. Others - especially picture editors on magazines will disagree.

I don't own a smartphone.
Another from an earlier book The New Yorkers. I once owned several convertibles and yes, one of them was this color and left hand drive too [imported from California!]

But who cares about the  car!

[Pity about the junk in the back]

Books by Robert Herman. Read, be inspired. Never imitate!

Monday, 10 October 2016

Monday Magazine Choice - Happinez

Once again you are invited to grab a magazine and a coffee break.  This time around it is 'happinez' that you can find out about at

This lavishly produced quarterly has a good feel and its 148 pages are well printed in Belgium for it's Dutch publisher. UK price is pitched at £6.95 per copy, the equivalent of 53p per week. It is heavily  into helping you lead a positive, wise and loving life with insight and imagination.

My words would describe it as going large on yoga and zen Buddhism accurately aimed at the female market.

If you feel like wailing 'stop the world I wanna get off' or just fancy a chill out spasm or three then this could and should offer you some helpful pointers.


Friday, 7 October 2016

Inspired by Edward Hopper

You may need to fix yourself a coffee before embarking on this page as it has a distinct risk of rambling a bit.

This cup is a detail from a painting by Edward Hopper who was possibly the first artist that I could usually recognize from his pictures. Guess I was attracted by the almost surreal photographic style of his painting or, maybe, it was just that he reflected my own teenaged mental interpretation of The American Dream.

You will find any number of Hopper's paintings on line and I expect to return with some examples in a later posting.

What bought this on now was a waft through an old copy of Slightly Foxed where I found this essay [extract to left]  Over the ensuing hour I was introduced to the works of a trio of photographers that I had not known of before and which, again, I may share with you another time. Then I found this shot of the artist's notebook ...

Then with absolutely zero originality I had the thought that it could be fun to write a story about what might be going on in some of the pictures ... only to find that many other photographers and writers had done exactly that. Ah well, I can have the pleasure without the work!

And that is how I arrived at a personal first. I rarely buy new books and have never bought one prior to its publication. But that is exactly what I did with this anthology even although it is still six weeks away. [Lawrence Block is also an  author that is new to me!]  The cover is a detail from another Edward Hopper painting that is loaded with layers.

There is a hint of the movie playing, a locating silhouette of the audience, a brief architectural reference and of course, the usherette ready to show people to their seats.

Maybe depth of detail is  another reason why these paintings fascinate me as much as they do?

Mmmm ... maybe she isn't an usherette but a girl waitin' and wonderin' if her date will turn up?

The decision is yours! Like real life. You can choose to make it whatever you want it to be.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

October Journal

This month's journal is extremely tongue-in-cheek and yet it can offer many kickstart ideas when your creativity has gone on holiday ... or when you just fancy wasting time ... or just for the hell of it. Tons more at  various places on the interweb when you search for Austin Kleon.

On a more serious note, here is the actual notebook of American artist Edward Hopper.

Monday, 3 October 2016

The Glass Cracked

I just love the 'back stories' behind the formation of business ventures, the origination of books and magazines and the inspiration for artworks and photographs.

It seems most improbable that anyone would want to associate the significance of their wedding day with a tragic disaster like the ill-fated liner 'Titanic' and yet that is exactly what the client told California photographer Gigi Clark.

In my ten year old book The Best of Adobe Photoshop, author Bill Hurter tells this tale of a photograph.

May the souls who perished rest in peace.